Day 11: Battle Mountain, NV to McDermitt, NV

Monday 9/19

A motel stay was what I really needed to de-silt myself and my belongings. I took my helmet apart. I turned my pockets inside out. I scalded the hell out of my toothbrush. It felt good to reset the cleanliness clock.

Unlike the continental breakfast that I forgot about in Salinas, I was all over this one. There were just cheap bread products and cold cereal, but that was good enough for me. I ate a couple of the mini bagels and stuffed a few more in my pocket — food not associated with gas stations had acquired an unusual attraction to me.

As it was with Eureka, we had troubles extricating ourselves from Battle Mountain. We were just on the edge of town and we were already “situationally impaired” in the farm fields. It seems that we couldn’t get anywhere without getting blocked off by fences. Backtracking and investigating various options wasn’t a problem; the fact that it had to be done in those cursed silty roads was. If only I hadn’t pilfered those extra bagels and negativized our karma.

The victims on the fences told the story of Battle Mountain: You can check any time you like, but you can never leave.

After taking about an hour to do what should’ve been done in fifteen minutes, we finally hit a wide gravel road. We were on it for a while before our GPS took us back onto rutted, silty two-track (#%$@!). The trail was lined with sage brush that grabbed at our side bags. I’m not sure exactly what caught me out here, but I can assure I was very annoyed with the result.

We eventually arrived at the creek crossing that had caused those who came before us much grief. Since it was late summer the water was about as low as it was going to get, but it was still too deep to cross.

You can’t see it in the above photo, but a hard right just before the creek led to this plywood bridge.

To negotiate our way to that bridge, we’d first have to squeeze our bikes through a narrow passage (plants on one side, embankment on the other). We could see that “landscaping” had already been done by others; we needed to do a little more before trying to bring our DRZs through.

Wayne walked the bike down the steep embankment with me anchoring the back to keep it from sliding out of control. When we got to the narrow passage, the left side of Wayne’s bike got hung up on branches. We worked to shove the bike through — I tried to pin the heavy branches out of the way while Wayne muscled the bike forward (remember this moment; it will haunt us tomorrow in the form of a torn bag).

We were relieved when we finally got both bikes to the other side. The well-shaded property made a nice place to take a lunch break.

Other riders had left messages so we added ours.

The rest of the afternoon was long, extremely long. There were plenty of loose and rocky hills that seemed to have a higher than normal gravitational pull. Strange physics, though: it only affected yellow bikes.

In the late afternoon we once again became “geographically disadvantaged” after following some faint tracks out onto a hilltop.

We could see the correct path below us so Wayne picked his way down the hillside. I waited to make sure he reached a road before I committed. I was doing ok until I hit the dense brush and got hung up. I tried rocking myself off the plant but I was punished for my efforts.

Wayne picked up the bike and rode it down while I did the Walk of Shame with Simon on my back.

The sun was low in the sky and although we were still a couple of hours away from McDermitt, the fact that we were at last dropping down towards our destination was a mental boost. The increase in animal life also made us feel like we were getting somewhere, as opposed to the expansive nowhere we’d been most of the day.

As we got lower, the creek crossings became more frequent. McDermitt was not going to come easy!

With virtually no time spent on pavement, it was our longest dirt day yet (Wayne’s DRZ had gone on reserve).

We filled up our tanks and then pitched our tent in a field just outside of town.

We had a cold but undisturbed night of sleep.


Day 11 overview: 170 miles

    • Sux Warrior
    • October 19th, 2011

    I’m going to send you a new toothbrush. Well, nearly new.

      • piratemonkeycult
      • October 19th, 2011

      Is it soft bristle? Anything stiffer than that will knock out my teeth.

        • Sux Warrior
        • October 22nd, 2011

        The ladies don’t call me ‘Mr. Softee’ for nothing.

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